Kolby Hume as Norma Jean Harris
Q – Before you started working on this production, what was your perspective on the role of women during WWII?
As a social studies teacher, I get a lot of time to think about how WWII affected both the United States and the world as a whole. It is clear that women took a big step forward during the early 1940’s- they had the opportunity, and the privilege to serve the United States as nurses, laborers and heads of a household. It is so difficult to grasp however, what it must have felt like to “return to normalcy” after all that the war had changed at home and abroad.
Q – What kind of job do you think you would have had during WWII?
I could see myself as a teacher making sure that my students understood what was happening abroad. I would want them to feel like they were a part of what was happening, and that they could find their own ways to contribute. I would want to create platforms for discussion and debate, and encourage them to do their part to support the troops abroad and the war effort as a whole.
Q – What or who do you draw on for inspiration for your role?
I have been thinking a lot about my grandmothers during this show. My maternal grandmother became a single mother at 40, and had to run a farm while working and raising three teenagers all on her own. She still has the kind of no-nonsense mentality that comes from sacrifice and survival that Norma Jean brings to the group in Decision Height. James is also the name of both Norma Jean’s husband and my late grandfather. Norma Jean’s softer, nurturing side reminds me of my father’s mother Norma, who loved her children and grandchildren above all else. She cared so deeply for people she knew directly or even just by association that she would give up anything she could to make sure those she cared about were comfortable and happy. Norma Jean represents a combination of both of these women that I love so much. I’m looking forward to working pieces of them into my performance.
Q – What woman in your life influences you the most and why?
My mother is the most amazing woman I know. She is an incredible example of strength, grace and love. She’s my best friend, my role model, and my favorite shopping buddy.
Q – What do you hope our audience gains from seeing Decision Height?
Historical perspective! Women in the Second World War were more than Rosie the Riveter or stay at home mothers. There were so many women from all walks of life, who sacrificed life and limb to do their part to help the war effort. Most of their efforts were promptly forgotten when the war ended in the summer of 1945, and they were expected to be grateful for the chance to quietly return to their homes. It is important to tell the story of the women of the war, in the hopes that we can share some of the gratitude that these women finally deserve.